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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 12, 2003

12 March 2003
Bashkir President, SPS Leader Diverge On Question Of Third Term In Office...
Following his meeting with Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov on 11 March, Boris Nemtsov, the leader of the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS), told a press conference that he and Rakhimov had "opposing views" regarding the number of possible terms that regional leaders can serve in office, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Nemtsov said that SPS does not support allowing federal, regional, or municipal leaders to serve more than two terms in office, "because staying in power for more than two terms is not only ineffective, it is also harmful.... Eight or 10 years [in office] is enough time for another generation of citizens to grow. One cannot sit in the same place for a long time."

Nemtsov said that Rakhimov had a different point of view on the subject. "[Rakhimov said] that Bashkortostan is a Muslim republic and that European rules don't suit it. Life will show who's wrong and who's right," Nemtsov said.

Rakhimov plans to run for a third term as president of Bashkortostan in December.

...And Privatization Of Fuel And Energy Industries
Nemtsov told the same press conference the privatization of Bashkortostan's fuel and energy industries was both inevitable and in the republic's interests, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Nemtsov said that he and Rakhimov also had diverging opinions on this issue. Nemtsov said "the republic is still afraid of the arrival of the oligarchs, but sooner or later the privatization and open sale of shares in [the republic's] oil refineries will begin." He described the republic's state-owned oil refineries as "small parts of the state in an ocean of private property," adding that "they won't last for long; this is just as true as that summer follows spring."

Nemtsov said that the decision to privatize the republic's fuel and energy industries will be made regardless but that the republican government has the opportunity to direct the privatization process in a "civilized manner."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi